Analysis Breaking

Beckett declaration means 3 left candidates for Unite, with no right-winger likely to qualify – but only one likely to stand up to Starmer and Labour right

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett has today confirmed his intention to stand for the general secretary position when Len McCluskey retires – as the SKWAWKBOX predicted after ‘United Left’ refused to overturn its nomination contest in which far more than enough pro-Beckett voters were excluded from the contest to overturn the ‘result‘.

The declaration means that Unite members are likely to face a choice of three ‘left’ candidates – but thankfully not a ‘split left vote’ scenario, because of changes to the union’s branch nomination rules after the prolonged fiasco of Gerard Coyne’s failure to challenge McCluskey in 2017 and the lengthy series of legal challenges in which Coyne accused the McCluskey campaign of improper conduct and data breaches that Coyne’s own campaign had in fact committed.

Coyne was being touted for a potential second attempt when McCluskey steps down, but he is extremely unlikely to be able to meet the new qualification threshold. Changes to Unite’s rules after the 2017 election mean that if Coyne wants to run again he must obtain nominations from 5% of branches across 3 regions150 branches.

This means Unite members will face a choice of three candidates, all more or less from the left – of whom only one is likely to be inclined to stand up for the left in the wider Labour movement:

The likely absence of a right-wing challenger means Unite members can make a straight choice of their preferred candidate to succeed McCluskey without fear of ‘splitting the left vote’ – but it’s evident that there is clear water between one candidate and the other two in terms of rallying and defending the movement against its attackers on both the industrial and political fronts alike.

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  1. I can’t see how Beckett fostering open warfare between the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party who has a huge mandate from the membership and Unite who’s leader by comparison will have bugger all of a mandate from the few Unite members who are engaged enough to bother to vote will help Labour electoral prospects.

    1. Its called questioning and if necessary challenging. If you call that open warfare then you’ve got a warped idea of how democracy working works

      1. Ignore the idiot tim,he is now reduced to trolling the readers of this site.

    2. “Open warfare?” If by that you mean exerting the weight of Unite’s membership to keep Labour honest I’m in favour.
      That’s one of the least offensive ways to do politics in this post-truth age.
      At least he’s not going to pay off scumbags for making shit up about Starmer being a racist – is he?

    3. SteveH, many thought Starmer was the best of a bad bunch, I seem to remember you thinking along similar lines. However, since Starmer was elected he’s shown himself to be even worse than many of us thought and therefore he deserves to be opposed.

      But you raise another point, have the Unions too much power in the Labour Party? – they certainly do at Conference!

      1. Many in the PLP obviously had similarly negative views about Jeremy, I remember at the time the anger felt by myself and many other members that a small section of the party thought they knew better than the majority of the membership. Infighting didn’t help then and it won’t help now.
        What shocks me is how quickly the self appointed guardians of ‘the left’ have adopted and mastered the same techniques that they were so critical of the RW using against Corbyn. Plotting against and continually undermining Starmer and Labour’s frontbench won’t help Labour win.

      2. “PLOTTING” Steve?
        What plotting? which foreign far right governments are the left plotting with?
        Who in the Tory party or the MSM are left wingers plotting with?
        Who is training left wing members how to hijack votes in branch meetings?

      3. Steve, here we’re just discussing what we think of the man – ‘plotting’ is making a joint plan to actually do something to bring Starmer down by unfair means, ie other than simply voting against him.
        I don’t believe you can point to an example of that.

      4. David – ‘The left’ are more than capable of conspiring amongst themselves without any external input. On this site alone their is a plethora of anti Starmer articles plus endless plots amongst contributors to set up new parties and other such nonsense.
        Those who oppose Keir Starmer should be grown up enough accept the majority decision and to realise that they haven’t a cat in hells chance of mounting a successful challenge against Starmer before the next GE. If Starmer fails at the next GE then you’ll get your chance. In the meantime everyone who supports the Labour Party should all get on with fighting for a Labour government instead of against one.
        It has been proven time and time again that the electorate aren’t very keen on squabbling and divided parties

      5. “In the meantime everyone who supports the Labour Party should all get on with fighting for a Labour government instead of against one.
        It has been proven time and time again that the electorate aren’t very keen on squabbling and divided parties.”

        Yeah, right – like your bunch of traitorous Quislings did when Corbyn was leader you mean, you mealy-mouthed fucking faker?

      6. David – I’m disappointed by your response, you know as well as I do that I was supportive Corbyn before and throughout his leadership. You are welcome to try and prove otherwise.

    4. The mandate Starmer gained was due to a lie. He proposed carrying on with the policies of the Corbyn era, on gaining control he commenced ditching them. There will be a challenge to Starmer as principles are sadly lacking in this barrister.

      1. steve – Do you have a list of the policies that you claim Starmer has ditched?

      2. That sounds interesting but who is there to run against him? Genuinely, who is willing to go through hell only for the state to destroy them? I don’t know. ☮️

    5. tim draper19/08/2020 AT 10:06 PM

      you’ve got a warped idea of how democracy working works


      Welcome to the weird, warped world of steve h…Best of luck in getting him to answer a straight question.

    6. Huge mandate from Labour members? Kier Rodney Starmer?

      At least 50 percent of members who voted DID NOT vote for Sir Kier at all. That’s hardly a ‘huge mandate’.

      Embarrassingly small I’d sa, especially given the hard sell given him by the BBC and billionaire press.

      1. Keir Starmer won in the first round of voting, I’m disappointed that they didn’t publish the 2nd choice votes it would have been interesting to see definitively what Keir’s overall level of support is.

  2. “Steve Turner – well regarded on the left but has made it clear that he will adopt a pro-Starmer leadership style stance”

    So how can Steve Turner be a ‘left wing’ candidate if he is willing to support Right Winger STARMER?

    1. It was a 10 from Len for both candidates
      Just done a quick Google on Steve Turner, he supported RLB, he doesn’t see open attacks on Starmer being productive
      Deal breaker needs to be Starmer paying off Cockwombles, we know from Ken the executive of Unite is asking for clarification on this
      Let’s see where he stands on this

    2. Pro-Starmer leadership like stance. V good, as in the Haringey bun fest.

  3. If you believe tat the old, well entrenched, right wing machine in UNITE (ex AEU) is unable to field a candidate, you ae a lot less well informed than I thought you were. My guess is that over somewhere in the Black Country they are cracking open the bottles at he news of the Beckett candidacy, and that when Sharon Graham reads the patronising comments made about her, she will be spurred to up her campaign, probably by-passing the diminishing cohort of old, middle aged males, with craft apprentice backgrounds of yore.

    1. Len came very close to loosing against Coyle at the last election. Maybe the ‘so called centrists’ have decided that their best strategy is to field just 1 candidate to fight against the 3 way split on the left. It may well prove to be a winning strategy.

      Len McCluskey Green tick 59,067 – 45.5%
      Gerard Coyne – 53,544 – 41.3%
      Ian Allinson – 17,143 – 13.2%
      Invalid Votes 317
      Total Turnout 130,071 12.2%

      1. Steve, You’d accept, wouldn’t you, that just because there’s been a low turnout historically in union elections – doesn’t guarantee a low turnout in today’s circumstances of CV, furlough, job losses and an extremely uncertain future.
        Wouldn’t those factors be likely to increase activism?
        I have no documentary evidence whatsoever for that – it’s an original thought, which doesn’t imply exclusivity.
        You should try it, Bubba, rather than just parrotting the thoughts of others.

      2. David – You may well be right. The next vote may break the record all time high turnout of 15.8%..
        I still think a 3 way split on the left has left them very, very vulnerable to a single ‘so called centrist’ candidate.

      3. SteveH19/08/2020 AT 11:26 PM
        Len came very close to loosing against Coyle at the last election.

        Except he didn’t.

        Remind us all what happened to coyne when he lost. He turned into you, didn’t he? Constantly whinging about how ‘unfair’ it all was (4.2% – A similar margin showing how ”unfair and undemocratic” brexit was, eh, knobend?) but saw it as quite alright for him to use the shithouse tricks he accused others of.

        And coyne spunked £££thousands on legal bills in the process.

        Now, where else has that happened recently, hmm??

      4. Toffee – Len came very close to loosing against Coyle at the last election. Except he didn’t.

        I’m puzzled why you felt the need to repeat my words but thanks for reaffirming what I wrote?

        I would contend that any supposed mandate from a pathetic turnout of 12.2% isn’t really comparable with the mandate achieved by either Corbyn or Starmer in their respective leadership elections.

      5. Repeat your words & reaffirming what you wrote? DO put the crack pipe down, soft ollies.

        IDGAF what you ‘contend’ , gobshite, you’re a total fucking moron who refuses to accept ANY concept of democracy unless it turns out that the majority happen to side with you (Rarer than a flattering photo of cherie bliar)

        It doesn’t matter a fuck what the turnout was – McCluskey gained more votes, got that, you monumental imbecile?.

        Don’t vote = hard spaghetti.

        45% is MORE than 41%

        A majority of 4k on a 12% turnout equates to a majority of 32k or thereabouts on a full one.

        And still no mention of the 4.2% and the similarity to the referendum result though. Still no mention of coyne and stammer spunking money on legal fees, neither

        I would contend that’s quite pathetically telling of you, steven.

  4. You like ‘forensics’ don’t you, stevey boy?

    Well let’s ‘forensically’ deconstruct your blatherings again, shall we?

    SteveH20/08/2020 AT 1:17 AM

    I remember at the time the anger felt by myself and many other members that a small section of the party thought they knew better than the majority of the membership.

    Oh, you mean like your 70% knew better to renege on the policy to respect the referendum result – which didn’t even go to a vote of the membership? I remember YOU howling for OMOV; but you didn’t get it here – although it got YOU what YOU wanted and alienated a large portion of the electorate in the process.

    SteveH20/08/2020 AT 3:17 AM

    Those who oppose Keir Starmer should be grown up enough accept the majority decision

    Really, steven…REALLY?

    You STILL don’t realise how much of a colossal gobshite you make yourself look, do you? But let’s continue because the latest lesson isn’t quite over…

    SteveH20/08/2020 AT 3:17 AM

    In the meantime everyone who supports the Labour Party should all get on with fighting for a Labour government instead of against one.

    Where to start, coming from the stammer apologist and acolyte?

    Oh sod it. I won’t bother, other than to call you out on your hypocrisy for the cunteenth time.

    In fact, I CBA going through anymore of your pitiful shite. You patently refuse to see what a cnut you are so why bother? I’ll just watch people tell you what you are and watch you carry on in the folorn hope that you’ll change someone’s mind.

    But there’s more chance of that than there is stammer being genuinely likeable.

    1. No real point being too annoyed at the cynical garbage pumped out 24/7 by the poster, SteveH, The Toffee, Bad for our blood pressure. Stevie , and a number of other constant contrarian posters on here every day are simply paid full-time, Right Wing keyboard warrior trolls – whose entire paid purpose is to swamp a potentially useful Left discussion site with confusing and diversionary drivel which breaks Left solidarity and muddies key issues, and also gives the bogus impression of a significant cohort of support for the politically bankrupt Labour Right and their new champion, the Trilateral Commission’s wooden puppet, Starmer . Despite that, I do agree with you, The Toffee, that the troll buggers are very irritating. They’ll never be put off or embarrassed by reminders of the constantly proven bollocks of their past posts though, or that their promotion of Labour’s 2019 Remain and 2nd Referendum policy was electoral suicide. That was that policy’s entire purpose after all. For the likes of SteveH, Labour’s all-too-predictable resulting electoral catastrophe was ‘mission accomplished’.

  5. ‘Mission accomplished’ indeed, JP.

    All the things he demands the enlightened (everyone bar himself) amongst us do, are exactly all the things (and more) he didn’t when Corbyn (TWICE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED) was leader.

    The difference is, nobody on here (but him) even as much as pretends to support stammer, while steve h pretended (risibly) to support Corbyn, right until the moment the keys were taken from him.

    He now goes on about the ‘mandate’ of the blockheaded one, as if it were written in stone for us to abide by, wilfully ignoring the fact Corbyn’s mandate was bigger on the both occasions he was elected.

    And he complains about any dissent, while blatantly ignoring ALL stammer’s shortcomings (F**k knows just how long that list actually is – it’s growing by the day – but it’s every bit as long as de piffle’s rap sheet). In fact, he doesn’t only ignore those miserable failings; he ridiculously tries to paint some of them as rectitudes for complete fs.

    steve h makes that oddball mcternan look positively indifferent about his idol , bliar. His malodourous toerag-in-all-but-name crap must NOT be allowed to infest left-leaning websites across the internets.

    1. Toffee – An interesting perspective from a non member who’s a self declared Tory Boy and has openly declared that he would rather Tories win the next GE than have a Labour government

      1. Once again you resort to lying about others to cover up the fact you’ve been found out.

        If you’re NOT lying then, perhaps you’ll do the entire site the courtesy of showing just where & when I said I would rather the tories WIN the next election…

        What’s that? You CAN’T? Well isn’t THAT a shock?

        And why is that, stevey lad? Could it be because what I actually said was I’d rather VOTE toerag as the only difference between stammer and the toerags is that the toerags don’t pretend to be anything else?

        I stand by that. Capisci? Savvy? Panjemajo? Verstehehen? Entender? No? Here it is in capitals, bold and italics so it’s a bit plainer for a moron like you to comprehend.


        Now then, is there anything you have that might actually SHAME me, because me saying THAT doesn’t.

        Got that, nobby? Now slime your way back into stammer’s arse crack and try to think of something else you can pin on me – something that might actually stick.

        Off you pop, little steven.

  6. I just checked out Sharon Graham on Facebook. I know who I’ll be voting for.

  7. Perhaps Skwawkbix could pose them each a series of questions, run a interview maybe ,
    My main Q to all would be,,did you vote for and support mandatory reselection for all MPs

      1. Unlike others on here I don’t intend to waste time engaging with a Tory cunt such as you , youve done immense damage to the lives of ordinary working class people with your actions over the last 4 yrs culminating in voting for that Tory support piece of shit Sir Spanners Starmer .Now Fuck Off Tory Boy

      2. rob – More empty rhetoric, could you list these actions of mine that you ‘assert’ have had such a devastating impact over the last 4 years?

        its in caps so you so its easier for you to read.

      4. rob – If you search on-line you will find that text written in the standard format using both upper and lower case is generally accepted to be more legible than capitalised text.

      1. rob – Awwww come on, it really should be much easier for me to get the last word, especially when you’ve already said that you refuse to engage with me.

      2. AWWW LITTLE PET Tory TROLL it dont understanding wot dur difference between dis a engagement and derision is ..
        So for clarity FUCK OFF TORY BOY

      3. rob – But despite all our differences here you are again, is their something irresistibly drawing you back. 😗.

      4. On the contrary Tory Boy it’s you that despite my initial and respectful request sometime ago that you keep your nose and comments out of my comment thread, you just cannot seem to resist that impulse , as here you are again, just like the bad smell that never quite goes away. And yes there’s many differences between us the main one being that unlike you , Iam not a lying deceitful little turd of a closite Tory , who purported to support Corbyn and the Socialist agenda , when in fact all your actions have undermined that agenda and continue to do so.
        Now Ive wasted enough of my time indulging you , so with as little respect as I can muster for a liar , keep your nose and comments out of my threads as I have with yours and things will run more smoothly. Or as it appears with others on here you seem to enjoy the trolling leaving me no option but to resort to the 4 letter explitives that a troll deserves.
        I won’t be responding further nor will I be playing your pathetic infantile little game of who gets the final word , because of people like you and your actions destroying the chance of a Corbyn Govt vis vie not respecting the leave vote, electing an arse licking Tory wannabe as Leader, you have ensured a Tory Govt for the next 20 yrs .Many innocent people will AND have already died as a result of those actions. Those death’s sit with you on your conscience.

      5. rob – That was an exceptionally long winded way of telling me you’re not speaking. Despite the obvious effort you have put into telling me we’ve fallen out your comment is lacking in detail. The only thing I have been gleen is that I’m apparently to blame for Labour’s second referendum policy. Unfortunately you have chosen to ignore that I was in agreement with the substantial majority of Labour’s members plus you have totally ignored what Jeremy Corbyn himself has said recently on this subject

        “I tried to bridge that gap with the proposal that we should do a trade deal with the European Union and put that alongside Remain as a choice for the people and that was a decisions taken at last year’s Labour Party Conference

        As for silly ‘safe space’ demands, I will continue to respond to your comments (both positively and negatively) as and when I see fit. Whether you choose to respond to me is entirely your own choice.

    1. Rob, ” would you do job for the same wage as a medium civil servant?”. That should this em out.

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